Thailand to reopen Phuket to visitors from July

Tourists who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to waive quarantine requirements.

Boats tethered to the beach between islets.
Thailand’s tourist association is expecting the reopening of Phuket to add more than US$963 million to the economy. Picture: Michelle Raponi from Pixabay

CAPE TOWN, March 26 (ANA) – Thailand is looking to boost its tourism sector by reopening popular holiday destination Phuket from July 1, which will allow tourists who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to waive quarantine requirements.

According to Bloomberg, to help the island prepare for the reopening to foreign tourists, a proposal by Phuket’s private sector and business groups to inoculate 70% of the residents has been approved.

Following a panel discussion held on Friday that was chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the government will use this reopening plan as a test run before reopening other provinces and tourist hot spots that rely on tourism.

“There are people who are fully vaccinated and ready to travel,” said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

“But they would only choose destinations that have vaccinated its residents and don’t require quarantine,” he said.

Supasorn added that they expect around 100,000 visitors to Phuket in the third quarter. The reopening of Phuket will come three months earlier than the rest of the country, and the tourist association is expecting it to add more than US$963 million to the economy.

Bangkok Post reported that there are around 466,587 residents living on the island and that in order to roll out the vaccine successfully, more than 930,000 doses will need to be administered.

Authorities plan to start the initial round of inoculations on April 15 and the second to be rolled out from May 15.

“Local businesses and people have suffered during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow.

“They have joined forces and offered to be a reopening model for major tourist provinces. There are flights to the province and hotels to attract quality tourists,” he said.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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